- Murder Mystery Parties
- Party Packs
- Game Extras
- Help Choosing a Mystery Party
Posted by Dr. Bon Blossman on Dec 21st 2020
You are given the option for an instant download or boxed set (the party pack). If you choose the instant download, you'll need to print and prepare the kit. This is more economical but it will take more of your time, and you'll need ink/paper and a printer. Getting the party pack is a time-saver and looks quite professional (see below).
Here is a chart that describes all of the differences between the instant download and party packs: click here.
The traditional format of murder mystery parties has a face-to-face venue where players mingle about and share information. Players can be directed to perform tasks, such as finding something in the party room, or telling a specific player a bit of gossip, or asking them a question. The traditional format relies upon players being able to gossip, share secrets, discuss clues in private or semi-private conversations.
The optimal group size for an in-person game begins at eight players. Because you're expected to mingle, you'd have four conversations going on simultaneously. We offer games starting at a minimum of five players, and it works, but the virtual format is likely to be the optimal format for a small-group game of six or less. The in-person parties can have up to 75 suspects - nevertheless, with the large group games, it was developed to have that many suspects, and they are quickly weeded out in the investigation, so it doesn't get too chaotic. However, you can increase your guest list by adding expansion packs of suspect players and using the expandable teams to cover even more players, up to 250 or more.
The virtually-formatted games are simple. You download a character packet for each player (PDF file) and send each player their character's packet prior to the game. Nothing needs to be printed unless you want to print. However, it's optimal to have a second device during the game if you choose not to print the packet, as you'll be toggling between the packet and the video chat screen. It's do-able but much easier to have a second device. Most will use a PC/laptop for the video chat with a phone or iPad for the packet. Again, printing the packet is convenient but not needed. The host will share various materials with the group, such as game videos that push the story along, &/or maybe a separate challenge that the host will share on the screen.
The bonus about this format is that the solution is separated from the other files, and the host never has to contact any spoilers in the game. The host 100% can play along without fear of any spoilers - other than knowing the narrowed down suspect list with the host character list. That's a necessity to have the flexibility of the game, though. It doesn't give many advantages to the host, though. Don't worry, the optional suspects won't know they were optional.
A virtual game has adjustments and considerations made for the video chat platform's restrictions. Since not all platforms will have break-out rooms where players can mingle about, and not everyone is tech-savvy enough to pull that off, anyway - the games are more of an open group endeavor with fun challenges to conquer and videos to watch ( most games will have video content). Nonetheless, the players will still guess whodunit as individuals.
The optimal group size for a virtual game depends on how many you are accustomed to managing on a video chat platform. But as far as how many suspect players there should be - the answer is up to ten. During our beta testing period when I developed the video chat format, all of the feedback of the groups that tested the first expansion packs with suspect players (Murder in 1985, Miles Randolph) were that the expansion packs with additional suspects 'worked,' but they wouldn't host that many suspects again. They pretty much all agreed up to 10 max is ideal.
The comments were that it was a bit too hectic as compared to hosting with fewer suspects and difficult to follow at times with more than ten suspects. Therefore, the newer games will have non-suspect character roles for the expansion packs. These packs will allow your extra players to be characters and feel included, but they are swiftly ruled out as suspects during round one. That way, you can mentally set them aside and focus on the main game suspects. Sometimes, these players might have additional information or hints in their packets to make them feel that they have at least contributed.
I created the spectator files so you can expand the game into as many people as you are comfortable having in a video chat. If you're used to hosting 100+ in a work environment and want to put everyone in the same game - you'll use the spectator files. These are non-character packets with materials just like the other players but just no character information. They'll play along during the game, but they will not present dialogue or add new clues to the game. This just gives the spectators something to follow along with during the game. Their packets will direct them to the pre-game site instead of having pre-game tasks.